NPIMBY

National Park In My Back Yard:

The railway banks that inspired The Railway Children must be saved from developers and turned into a park to protect wildlife, campaigners say.

Locals in Lewisham’s Grove Park area of south east London want to preserve the section of railway that Edith Nesbit’s home overlooked before she wrote beloved 1906 children’s book The Railway Children.

Currently a patchwork of privately-owned areas and council-owned land that is used by the community, campaigners want to turn it into an “urban national park”, providing a haven for nature and for green space for local families.

It’s a bit of a tenuous link isn’t it? Presumably we should also preserve Reading Gaol ‘cuz Oscar wrote a poem about the place. Except, as with the retirement of Tom Lehrer from satire, that’s already being claimed, isn’t it?

23 thoughts on “NPIMBY”

  1. I do think it’s not unreasonable to preserve any ground that Jenny Agutter has walked on, though that obviously doesn’t include the above railway banks.

  2. Sounds like the Parklands Walk takes you from Finsbury Park to Highgate & the spur line from Highgate Wood to Ally Pally. That does have the advantage of an absence of trains, though. The dogs certainly enjoyed it. And it’s got 3 stations. 4 if you can get through the tunnel onto Highgate High Level over the top of Highgate Tube station. Quite weird that is. Just as it was when the last train pulled out

  3. Those inner London house prices won’t raise themselves, you know. Though thinking about it, they’ve done a decent job of it in the past.

  4. Rob,

    The marginal house price difference is not going to hold. Back in the early 90s my brother bought a 2 bed flat that was double the price of a 2 bed house out here. That’s now 3-4 times.

    With the shift to more home working, demand for London is going to fall. The value of being in Bow is a lot less if you’re only going into the office once a fortnight. You might as well live in an M25 town.

    I think it might go further, that working in large cities might decline. Cities are all about commuting, getting people in from the suburbs, and that’s a range of 30-45 minutes, generally. But once a fortnight, people don’t mind doing more than that. Make it 90 minutes and why spend the money for London or Bristol? Put your company in Newbury and you’re less than 90 minutes from both. You get most of the people in the south of England.

    If London’s mostly just another place, what happens to those house prices?

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    DocBud January 27, 2021 at 7:55 am – “I do think it’s not unreasonable to preserve any ground that Jenny Agutter has walked on, though that obviously doesn’t include the above railway banks.”

    You know, I don’t want to be remembered for the weirdest comment on TW this year, but some times I regret we don’t have a more Japanese approach to things. Like a Ms Agutter’s underwear museum.

    Go on, you know that it is only racism that holds you back.

    I am all for this park. As long as the fans pay for it. They want it? Let them buy the land.

  6. Admittedly it is about 50 years since I read the Railway Children, but I thought they started out living in Lewisham (fairly close to Grove Park but not really the same thing) and then moved up North somewhere. I think the film was shot in the Keighley-Worth Valley. The Grove Park angle does not immediately occur to me unless Nesbit lived there. She might well have done. I think she spent a lot of her life in that part of South East London. However, the people of Grove Park like to commemorate their connections. I seem to recall that they already have an Archbishop Tutu Memorial Park. So a Jenny Agutter Park seems like a good addition

  7. Does the campaign call for the return of steam trains in south west london again so we can enjoy the same things the fictional railway children enjoyed.

  8. And what about 23 Railway Cuttings, East Cheam, where Tony Hancock used to live, eh ?

    Is it not worth preserving ? What about Magna Carta ? Did she die in vain ?

  9. So Much For Subtlety

    Hallowed Be January 27, 2021 at 10:35 am – “Does the campaign call for the return of steam trains in south west london again so we can enjoy the same things the fictional railway children enjoyed.”

    The government is doing all it can to undermine marriage so that more children can experience the joys of being raised by a single mother in poverty once the state takes the father away.

  10. SMFS- I know it’s not quite your point but it does remind me of the number one rule of kids fiction- get rid of the parents. Otherwise they can’t actually do much that’s interesting or engaging.
    – favourite one is swallows and amazons- Mother defers the pleas to stay on the island over the summer hols to Father who’s on a warship in singapore. They write to him. He telegrams back assent, one proviso – don’t be duffers if not duffers won’t drown.

  11. BoM4

    I think the belief that the age of the office worker is dead is a bit overcooked and relying on the fallacy that what is now, will be forever.

    Already (cf. the CEO’s of Barclays & JP Morgan yesterday) the narrative is reverting to getting people back in. The young (those 35 and under), who make up the majority of the office population, are pushing for it, for both work and social reasons. Give it two years and, apart from more flexiworking, you won’t see the difference from 2019.

  12. Ah, no, the filming was near Bath. This bit is talking about where the author of the original story might have looked out the window and seen a choo choo.

    Maybe.

  13. “This bit is talking about where the author of the original story might have looked out the window and seen a choo choo”

    Ah yes, the Hollywood school of inspiration, where Johann Strauss sees people boating on a river and is inspired to write “The Blue Danube”

  14. Profit on private gain on sale of the principal private residence is only tax free on the private residence part. If part of your home is for WFH then it might attract CGT.

  15. As Diogenes noted above, the main setting of The Railway Children was filmed on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, most particularly the station at Oakworth.

  16. I am all in favour of this sort of thing, turning abandoned railway lines into nature reserves.

    In the early nineties, Sandwell council did just this with the abandoned railway line behind my father’s house. The line had been unused for about 30 years at this time, and the embankments had simply run wild (the line itself had already been made into a footpath). Readers, you will not believe the stupidity of the borough, they grubbed out, YES, GRUBBED OUT, the whole lot, and replanted it – covered the soil with bark and saplings! I could not believe it, how could they simply destroy 30 years of nature like that, but they did.

    So, we should be careful of what we are ‘all in favour of’.

  17. you will not believe the stupidity of the borough, they grubbed out, YES, GRUBBED OUT, the whole lot, and replanted it – covered the soil with bark and saplings!

    Clearly, it was the wrong sort of leaves on the embankment.

  18. @Recusant

    I’ve personally talked to several managers in large financial services operations that have already downsized their London offices, on the assumption that, where they had 500 desks pre-Covid, they’ll only need 50 when things return to ‘normal’. Sure, some people will want to go back into the office five days a week, and maybe some businesses will let them do so if they’re considered sufficiently ‘key’ workers – but not the majority. Similarly some people will still want to live in Bow, for the buzz and access to the ‘arts’, but they’ll also be a minority, having a big overlap with my first minority and those under-30.

    Go short on London (and other city) properties.

  19. Recusant,

    “I think the belief that the age of the office worker is dead is a bit overcooked and relying on the fallacy that what is now, will be forever.

    Already (cf. the CEO’s of Barclays & JP Morgan yesterday) the narrative is reverting to getting people back in. The young (those 35 and under), who make up the majority of the office population, are pushing for it, for both work and social reasons. Give it two years and, apart from more flexiworking, you won’t see the difference from 2019.”

    What social reasons? Working in the early 90s was like being in a crew. I used to go drinking with workmates about 3 times a week. But people are always leaving or they live too far away, and it’s all gone. About the most boozy place I worked recently was a new media marketing company, full of young people, and even they had just a few beers after work and went home.

    And if you just need human noise and chatter, go and work in a Starbucks (after all this) or use a hot desk centre. Which is cheaper? 3 lattes in a cafe, or office space and a train fare to London? Most work collaboration is easily replicated by sending an email. I can send out a specification to people, and receive responses and answer them. If you’re working with a partner company elsewhere, that’s how everyone has been collaborating for years, and if you WFH you do the same thing.

    There’s aspects of my work where I miss sitting with someone or being in a room, that are hard to replicate but that’s a fortnightly thing.

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